Daily Trust (Abuja)

31 January 2013

Nigeria: PDP Bot Chair - Why North Should Have It

Since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) postponed the election of the party's Board of Trustees chairman to a fresh date from January 9, the intrigues to the powerful position have only intensified.

Party chieftains and the public with interest in the party and its well being and cohesion have continued to make inputs in the now heated discourse on who needs the BoT position and posit rightly that a candidate from the North remains the right person for the job since the entire three zones of the north never produced a chairman of the PDP BoT. Logically and otherwise, the zone cannot compromise the stance if there should be fairness in the sharing of offices in the party now and in the future.

It looks like some party leaders don't feel comfortable with Amadu Ali, perhaps the best candidate for the BoT chair, because he is not seen as someone who can easily be manipulated for the gains of few against the larger interest of the party. He in the past proved as the national chairman of the party that he is a leader of repute who loves the party and works for its progress without any form of compromise.

Some party big wigs are playing God in the bid to give President Jonathan the impression that only Chief Tony Anenih's emergence would assure his return in 2015. God definitely decides who becomes leader.

It is possible that he can scheme in somebody he feels could deliver him in 2015, but there is no assurance the person would bully the party into a decision that would hurt the larger party interest.

Zoning with regard to the BoT position is uncalled for, because PDP never intended zoning to apply to the chairmanship of the board in the past. It had always been based on integrity, loyalty and clean track record.

On grounds of equity, the South East zone has so many key roles in the party today, and that even reflects in the public offices they hold. South East produced key political personalities in the present administration, which include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and these are in view of their loyalty to party and value.

There are other factors that deserve compensation in the party just like the South East got their fair share due to loyalty. So if we should compensate loyalty and dedication to the party, why should we consider another candidate for the BoT top slot apart from Ali?

For this issue at hand, other contenders like Chief Ekwueme, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Anenih, Shuaibu Oyedokun, with due respect lost their wards and home states in the last general election and do not have a proof of home support. They cannot be seen as good ambassadors of the party over and above Ali.

Whether Mr President and Chief Obasanjo are divided over who takes that position is immaterial, and therefore nobody is sure, just as I am not sure, that they are at cross-purposes over who emerges the next BoT chairman. The fact is they cannot be divided now when the issue is squarely on choosing a BoT chairman from a region that never produced one and based on the factor of merit.

That PDP in any guise should adopt whatever nebulous convention to favour a candidate for the second term when other zones have not got it even once is baseless, unfair and inequitable. If there is a time PDP could contain a divided or a seeming divided house, it is not now because any such fiddling with the party leadership could be costly, so let us all tell ourselves the truth and give it to the right candidate and the region that naturally deserves it. The candidate is Amadu Ali and none else.

The purported election of Senator Walid as BoT secretary is very wrong and must be over-turned because due process was grossly lacking in it. Before a secretary is elected, a chairman must first emerge; electing Walid without concluding the election of the BoT chairman is abuse of procedure.

The election committee led by Professor Jerry Gana must address this planned disorder. I have not seen where the party rules and agreement - written or unwritten stated that the secretary's post is meant for the North Central? The appointment of Walid to it must be in the interim, and must expire before the next scheduled BoT chairmanship election because if he is there again, it means he has been on the BoT for 10 years.

Professor Gana and his team should save PDP from disintegration that will likely trail these flaws.

Ibrahim wrote from University of Abuja.

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